- Looking for the best snare head for your genre?
- Need advice on coated vs clear?
- Find out which heads are best for your music…
Fun fact: on average, you will hit your snare drum fifty times every minute during a standard 100 bpm rock song.
That’s over three thousand times during a forty-five-minute set.
For that reason, it’s safe to say that the time to consider whether or not you have the right snare drum head is not during the show.
Luckily for you, in this article, I’ll review the seven best snare drum heads for rock, metal, and, jazz.
Below you will find the head that fits not only your sound but also the specific type of music you play, along with other features that may be important to you.
What Are The Best Snare Drum Heads?
Without further delay, the best seven heads are:
- Remo Ambassador Coated (Our Pick)
- Evans G2 Coated (Best For Rock)
- The Remo Fiberskyn Diplomat (Best Jazz Snare Drum Head)
- Aquarian Super 2 Clear (Best Metal Snare Drum head)
- Evans UV1 Coated
- Aquarian Tripple Threat
- Evans Genera Dry
Snare drum heads come in two categories: coated, and uncoated.
And two sub-categories: 1-ply, and 2-ply.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into each of these drum heads.
We will look at some of the features of each one, and what makes them better for certain styles and genres.
1. Remo Ambassador Coated
Considered by many to be the industry standard, Remo's Coated Ambassador batter drumheads provide you with an exceptional balance of attack, tone, and sustain.
- Works well in every style
- Resonant bright sound
The Remo Ambassador Coated snare drum head is arguably the most popular drum head on earth.
It is a medium-weight head made with a coated single-ply 10 mil Mylar film. It produces a warm tone, a bright and resonant sound, and has a warm attack.
It has a wide range of tuning possibilities and can be used on any snare drum.
Coated Ambassador heads are the industry standard for the stage and the studio. It is known for its great responsiveness, with sticks and brushes alike.
I have used this head in various settings and it always delivers. I play a lot on backline kits at venues and theatres, where this head is found on the snare quite a bit.
With this head, you will hear the sound of the drum resonate, but if the “ring sound” is unwanted for a particular gig, it can easily be controlled with a piece of tape or Moongel.
I don’t view this as a con because it is difficult to make a 2-ply coated head resonate, but you can always muffle a ringing snare.
For an in-depth lesson on snare drum overtones and how to either control them or utilize them, see this great article.
Because it is a 1-ply 10 mil head, every note is clean and articulate.
This can be great if you play a lot of ghost notes in your grooves. This is the go-to head for countless drummers of all styles.
2. Evans G2 Coated
The Evans Genera G2 Coated drumhead is a two-ply head with 7mil each, delivering an excellent blend of sustain, depth, and attack.
- Works well in rock and metal
- Consistent sound on every hit
- Superb tone
The Evans G2 Coated snare drum head is another popular drum head on the market.
Countless drummers say this is the best snare drum head for rock music.
It is made with a double-ply film of 7 mil each. This makes the head not only durable for hard hitters but also causes it to produce a consistent sound.
In 2016, Evans introduced “Level 360 Technology”. It is a new way of manufacturing the collar which provides an even contact around the full circumference of the drum shell.
This new technology made a big difference when it comes to seating and tuning your drum head, and it created quite a buzz in the drumming world. Since that time, other drum head companies have followed suit.
This head is also easy to tune and has a wide range of tuning possibilities.
I have used this head in small venues and large theatres alike with great results.
It’s great on heavier rock and metal gigs as it is loud and in charge, but then quickly gets out of the way.
Given it is a 2-ply head, you can hit it hard. But keep in mind that ghost notes and quieter fills will get a little muddy, and may even get lost in the mix altogether.
But if you’re playing AC/DC, ghost notes are the least of your concerns.
These features, in addition to the countless rock drummers who swear by this head, make this my pick for the best snare drum head for rock.
3. Remo Fiberskyn Diplomat
Remo's Diplomat Fiberskyn Classic Fit drumheads offer something unusual: a vintage fit made possible by modern technology.
- Perfect for traditional Jazz
- Won’t wear down as fast with brushes
- Warm & open mid-range
If you listen to traditional jazz recordings, you will hear that classic jazz snare sound.
What you are hearing is a head that was made from calfskin. The modern Mylar drum head wasn’t invented until the 1950s.
Although there are still traditionalists who use animal skin heads, you must be very dedicated to doing so, as you will encounter many challenges.
They must be detuned after each use due to stretching issues, they are easily damaged, they are affected by the cold, and have tuning issues, just to name a few.
A great substitute is the Remo Fiberskyn Diplomat. This head sounds great with brushes and has a longer life span than a coated Ambassador head.
Twice a year, I play for a community group that consists of thirty or so singers, a pianist, a bass player, and a drummer.
And twice a year, I dig my Fiberskyn Diplomat out of storage for this gig.
The director, a man who has amazing ears, takes time to comment on the sound of my snare.
If you are a jazz player, you may say the best snare drum head for jazz is the Coated Ambassador.
But before you make that choice, I would suggest you try The Remo Fiberskyn Diplomat.
The Remo Fiberskyn Diplomat gets my vote for the best snare drum head for jazz.
4. Aquarian Super 2 Clear (Best For Metal)
Aquarian Super-2 Coated Drumheads with Super-X muffling ring have great attack, projection, and depth unlike any other drumheads.
- Durable for heavy hitting
- Projects in loud situations
- Has controlled sustain
The Aquarian Super 2 Clear is a 2-ply head. One ply is 7 mil while the other is 5 mil.
This combination makes it slightly thinner than other 2-ply heads, but thicker than a single-ply.
This unique combination means it can be used for pop rock and blues, but then can easily be switched over to metal with a little tuning.
Because it is slightly thinner than other 2-ply heads, it is more articulate and responsive.
At the same time, it will give you enough projection to play “Enter Sandman” at your favorite large venue.
This is the head I used on The Mercury World Tour.
While the songs of Queen are not metal, I was able to get this head to sound close to the recordings with as little fuss as possible.
Just keep in mind this is not the head for you if you use brushes or play in quieter situations.
The winner for the best snare drum head for metal goes to (drum roll please) the Aquarian Super 2 Clear.
5. Evans UV1 Coated
A patented UV-cured coating and breakthrough 10-mil film give the Evans UV1 drumhead the kind of durability that drummers dream of.
- Adaptable to many styles (including brushes)
- Bright open sound
Evans developed a method of UV-curing that creates a layer that lasts longer than any other head coating.
Pro drummers who endorse UV heads are almost evangelical about this product. After playing many gigs on this head, it will still look new.
It is made from a single-ply 10 mil film with the patented UV coating on top.
It is dynamic and resonant through a wide range of tunings.
The UV1 will give you a great response while playing ghost notes articulating each note. And it also works great in louder playing as well.
If you don’t like the look of a worn spot on your snare head, you should pick up the Evans UV1.
This head will last longer than any other single-ply head.
In my studio, I have UV1s on every drum of my student kit. Drum students, especially beginners, can be brutal to drum heads as they learn proper technique.
Student after student and month after month, the heads still look relatively new.
6. Aquarian Triple Threat
If you're either a heavy hitter or a lover of dry, full snare tone, the Aquarian Triple Threat snare head is sure to please.
- Works well with a close-up mic
- Controlled overtones
- Responsive dynamic sound
Three is not always a crowd. Especially when it comes to the Aquarian Triple Threat drum head.
Made from 3 plies of 7 mil film, overtones won’t be a problem on stage or in the studio.
Sound engineers seem to love this head as it leaves very little for them to do at the board.
If you love a dry sound that is still responsive and dynamic, try the Aquarian Triple Threat on your snare.
You will be able to produce ear-piercing rimshots while not being cheated out of nice responsive ghost notes.
7. Evans Genera Dry
The Evans Genera Dry snare drumhead features a 10mil single-ply film with the fat spread of a double-ply film.
- Reduced overtones and decreased sustain
- Very sensitive to lighter strokes
- Precision-drilled holes give it a dry sound
The Evans Genera Dry snare drumhead has a single-ply 10 mil film, with a 2 mil floating overtone control ring inside to help eliminate overtones.
The perimeter of the head has evenly spaced vent holes to further control the sustain.
This head works great with sticks and brushes alike and is a great choice for light to medium playing.
The small holes around the perimeter of this head reduce the overtones for a more dry sound.
The thin film makes the Evans Genera Dry more responsive to lighter playing, and the sound will be more focused than other thin drum heads on the market.
To Wrap Things Up
With so many options on the market, narrowing things down to just seven becomes very subjective.
Every drummer plays with a different technique.
In addition, since drumming is such a physical activity, each person’s physiology makes a big difference in how the drum head is hit, and from what angle.
The best snare drum head for rock will differ for each rock drummer, as will the best snare drum head for jazz and the best snare drum head for metal.
We are looking at generalities here and examining what the majority of drummers prefer in each genre and style.
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the resonant snare head.
Each of the three big drum head companies, Remo, Aquarian, and Evans, has its own selection of resonant snare drum heads.
Though this is not a tuning lesson, most drummers like the resonant head tuned nice and tight. At least tighter than the batter head.
And of course, being creative with the tuning of the resonant snare head can alter the overall sound dramatically.
I also hope I have answered some of the common Q&As
What is the most popular snare drum head?
Without a doubt doubt, it is the Remo Ambassador Coated.
Do new drum heads make a difference?
Absolutely. The best thing you can do to bring an old kit back to life is replace the heads.
Are thicker drum heads louder?
Thicker drum heads allow the drummer to hit harder without damaging the head, which in turn produces a louder sound.